Maksar lawyer asks to re-examine police officers after 'new evidence' comes to light

Lawyers to Robert Agius, one of the men accused with procuring the bomb that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, want to cross-exam two police officers again

Robert Agius's lawyers claim new evidence that favours their client has come to light
Robert Agius's lawyers claim new evidence that favours their client has come to light

Robert Agius, one of the men accused of procuring the bomb used in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, has asked the court to allow him to re-examine two witnesses, claiming that fresh evidence in his favour has come to light.

When the compilation of evidence against Agius, his brother Adrian, Jamie Vella continued on Wednesday morning before Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, in compilation proceedings regarding the Caruana Galizia murder and the 2015 killing of lawyer Carmel Chircop,  the court was informed that an application had been filed by Agius’ defence yesterday.

Lawyer Alfred Abela explained to the court that new evidence had come to light and so the defence had filed an application under a section of the Criminal Code, which regulates the re-examination of witnesses or production of new witnesses in such circumstances.

The witnesses requested by the defence are prosecutors Superintendent Keith Arnaud and Inspector Wayne Camilleri who handled the investigation into the two Maksar brothers, as well as Vella and Degiorgio.

Today’s request bears striking similarities to one recently filed by Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers in separate ongoing criminal proceedings against him over Caruana Galizia’s murder.

Prosecuting lawyer George Camilleri highlighted the fact that Agius’ application should have been filed before the Criminal Court, at a stage when the case records are sent back to the AG.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi, appearing parte civile for the Caruana Galizia family supported Camilleri’s arguments, specifying that the same provision had been applied in other proceedings, but had been filed when the records were at the AG’s Office.

Abela objected to Camilleri’s submissions. “Now there has been a development, Superintendent Arnaud must be summoned and must address the court.”

Azzopardi replied that he was not saying that the defence had no right to summon witnesses, but that this did not emerge from the quoted section of the law.

Camilleri and defence lawyer Rene Darmanin shouted over each other at one point, Darmanin expressing frustration at having to wait another month for the records to return from the AG before filing the application before the Criminal Court, and Camilleri arguing that he was doing so to ensure the proceedings were not defective and would not fall through at a later stage.

The court observed that the defence wanted to conduct an examination in chief of the witnesses on the new evidence, not cross-examine them.

After hearing submissions on the defence’s request, the magistrate ordered the application be served on the Attorney General, with 24 hours to file a written reply. After that, the court will issue a decree on the request to summon the police officers.

Also during today’s sitting, a court-appointed IT expert returned two clones of a hard drive, containing six terabytes of data, exhibited by Europol, together with copies and his report.

Answering a question put to him by Azzopardi, the expert told the court that he had collected the hard drive from the magistrate’s chambers himself and produced the copies using specific hardware, before copying the data to USB drives for ease of access.

The case continues on June 21.

Lawyers Ishmael Psaila and William Cuschieri also appeared for the accused in today’s sitting.